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Pasture Posts #22

pasture posts

Farms you can visit

Consumers like you are inundated with advertising and pitches of all sorts from large companies begging you to purchase their meat by offering gimmicks such as ground beef for life, free ribs, free rib eyes, or free shipping.  We all know nothing is actually free, and that the cost for these “free” things are built into the other products being sold. 

These companies also go to great lengths to make sure that their products are third-party certified which we discussed last week.  You will typically see on their customer-facing content a lot of buzz words such as regenerative, non-GMO, heirloom breeds, and so on.  While these claims are definitely true for many of these companies, in our opinion nothing is better than a direct connection with the farm and the consumer.  

This is one reason that Watson Farms has purposefully steered clear of some wholesale opportunities through the years, and made a conscious effort to better serve the consumer directly.  Many of these buzzwords have good practices behind them, but many of the certifications don’t actually cover the important parts.

So if we put all the fancy wording, incredibly large ad budgets, and highly paid P.R. and design teams aside, there is at least one thing that these fast-growing startups (often with venture capital backing) can’t usually contend with:  the ability for the consumer to visit the farm.  

We feel like this direct connection between producer and consumer is the Holy Grail of eating better.  We love connecting with and getting to know you, and we hope that you enjoy connecting and learning about us as well.  Nothing excites us more than a new 5-star review.  To us, that is worth far more than any third party certification.  

This is one reason that we opened our on-farm store where customers new and old can come by and enjoy the scenes of the farm while picking up food that they can have confidence in.  Take a look at this video from Kelly showcasing our new store!

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Pasture Posts #21

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer.  Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts!  (Web versions of this newsletter can be found here on our website!)

Beyond free-range eggs

A quick Google search for “free range eggs” makes it apparent that there are A LOT of farms and companies vying for your egg dollars by promising that their eggs are somehow better for you or for the hens or both.  We are one of those farms, and we would like to take this opportunity to explain in more than a tagline carefully crafted by a highly-paid public relations team what you get with our eggs that you probably cannot get elsewhere.

First and foremost, each of our hen flocks will cover about 30 acres of pasture in the course of a year.  We do this by setting up a loop of electric netting fence each week.  Within this loop are the hens and their pasture house, which is a 20’x50′ portable greenhouse structure that provides shade and shelter.  It also houses everything else the hen needs such as feed, water, and misters for extremely hot weather.  The hens can freely move in and out of all sides of the house in order to forage for grass and bugs.  We call this model truly pasture-raised, and there are other farms across the U.S. that use these methods, but many times the consumer has to be very inquisitive to separate the posers from the authentic. 

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Pasture Posts #20

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer.  Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts!  (Web versions of this newsletter can be found here on our website!)


Monocultures don’t exist in nature

Last week, we discussed how we view and deal with weeds in our pastures.  This week, let’s look at the diversity in our pastures and the species that graze them and compare that to other types of agriculture.

forage diversity mob grazing
Notice the diversity of forages in this pasture.  From Johnson grass and crabgrass to plantains, this field likely has more than 10 different species that flourish after each grazing period.  
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Pasture Posts #19

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer.  We hope you all have a wonderful Fourth and take the time to be thankful that we are able to enjoy so many freedoms.  Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts! 


Organic weed control

At Watson Farms we use several different methods for weed control, none of which employ herbicides or chemicals. 

First, we don’t define weeds the same way that many farmers might.  We only consider a plant a weed when cattle show a complete refusal to eat it.  When in a mob setting like our herd is, we find that cattle will actually eat many plants that others would consider weeds.  And it’s not like they don’t have anything else to eat either.  The fact is that they develop different tendencies when they are grazed in larger, tighter groups.  And the end result is fewer undesirable species in our pastures.  

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Pasture Posts #18

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer.  Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts! 


Ag + Art Tour!

The Ag and Art Tour was a great success!  We saw nearly 200 people come through, and gave 5 tours during the day!  Each tour lasted about 45 minutes and I (Matt) gave an informational overview of each enterprise on our farm as we visited the different animal groups.  Alan, my father-in-law, was gracious enough to be our tractor driver while a team led by Kelly stayed back at the store to handle sign-in and store operations.  It truly was a team effort! 

In case you missed it or if you’re curious as to some of the questions that were asked on tours that you weren’t on, here’s a quick rundown of some of the conversations we had with various attendees (in no particular order).

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Pasture Posts #17

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer.  We hope all the dads out there have a great Father’s Day!  Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts! 


tractor and covered hay ride for Ag and Art Tour South Carolina

Ag + Art Tour!

The Ag + Art Tour at our farm is Saturday, June 26!  The time is 10am – 4pm.  Just come to the farm (713 Colony Road, Chester, SC 29706) where we will be offering free tours every hour throughout the day. 

It’s a great event for the whole family where we encourage questions and curiosity about how we produce, process and market pastured proteins.  We always have great conversations on the tours so come on out and see us!

We will have a food truck as well as a ton of other vendors! Here’s a list: 

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Pasture Posts #16

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer.  Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts! 


Summer rains and drought

Our discussion from last week centered around water that we pump; so this week let’s discuss the water that falls in the form of rain.  

Much of our summer grass depends on timely rains in late-May through early-June.  While we didn’t get many of these in May, we are better off in June so far.  These early summer rains help to jumpstart a particular grass species that is key to our grass-fed beef: crabgrass.  That’s right, common crabgrass that many people consider a weed we consider a great asset.  But it does best when it has some heat and humidity mixed with a few rain showers, which more times than not is exactly what we get in South Carolina.

Here you can see newly sprouted crabgrass emerging through stubble and thatch of the previously mob-grazed ryegrass.    
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Pasture Posts #15

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer.  Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts! 


The most important nutrient

As we get in the summer routine here at Watson Farms, it’s hard to overstate how important water is to everything we do here.  Every time we move a set of animals, the question at the top of our checklist is “do they have access to drinking water?” 

Of all the equipment and infrastructure that is on our farm, it’s easy to see that things like ponds, wells, pipe and drinkers are among the most important. This is why over the last 15 years, we have laid thousands of feet of water line, and we’re not done!  The goal is to have access to water in every possible paddock that we might create.  

We think of water as the single most important nutrient that we provide for our livestock.  Life, much less growth, cannot happen without it.  

Water serves another critical purpose other than hydration, and that is cooling.  There’s nothing that our pigs love more than to wallow in a puddle on a hot afternoon.  Soon after that, they proceed to their second favorite activity: eating.  By allowing them to cool off, we are allowing them to gain weight like they are genetically predisposed to do.  

We also use water to provide some supplemental cooling for our broiler and layer chickens.  Our pasture houses for our laying hens have been equipped with misting nozzles that are connected to the water supply in the field. We simply open a valve to charge the misting line while we gather eggs in the heat of the day.  We run these misters periodically through the hot afternoons.  This keeps the hens happy, healthy and producing eggs.  

For the broiler chickens we mist them with a tank, nozzles, and pump attached to a tractor.  We drive this rig around the birds throughout the hot afternoons, but only when the birds are big – within 2 weeks of processing.  This is when they become especially susceptible to heat.  

When we properly care for all the animals that we have the privilege of stewarding, they reward us with health and vitality which produces a meat product that we can feel good about marketing, and you can feel good about consuming.  

We use a pipe laying attachment on a tractor to lay water line.  We can lay 500 feet in an hour.
Here’s a typical “quick coupler” that is installed in an underground water supply line.  We have dozens of these installed around the farm in order to have water access wherever it’s needed.  
Gary, Matt and little Abby, examine a new portable drinker after setting it up on the newly buried water line in 2015.  This location is over 3200 feet from the well.  
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Pasture Posts #14

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer.  Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts! 

We honor and remember all those who gave everything for our country.  Scroll down for a special offer.  


The “Why” behind pastured chicken

It’s estimated by the National Chicken Council that each American will consume on average 98 pounds of chicken in 2021.  In 2001 that number was 77 pounds, and in 1981 it was just 49 pounds.  

That’s a huge shift.  Chicken cannot be ignored by any pasture based farm that wants to meet the full demand of consumers.  

One reason consumption is so high is because chicken is relatively cheap in most grocery stores. This is due to the ability to mass produce these birds in confinement houses and process them in massive, centralized processing plants. Of course, it is increasingly evident how fragile these industrial systems are to things like disease – whether in the animals or the workers.  

But for the ever growing number of wise, well-informed consumers who know the pitfalls of mass producing chicken, better practices exist in which they can be proud to support.  Our farm uses these better methods and the video below illustrates this.  Take a look!


Shoot an unboxing video just like this one of your next order!  Tag us and use the hashtag #unboxingwatsonfarms where ever you upload your video! (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)

 When you place your next order, remind us in the comments section that you uploaded an unboxing video, and we will include a whole chicken (under 4 pounds) in your order!

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Make your own unboxing video!

Would you like a free chicken in your next order? If so, then shoot your own unboxing video after you receive your next order. Then just share it to Facebook or Instagram and tag us! (As you place your next order please remind us in the comments that you shared an unboxing video.) Help us create some buzz!

Here’s an example!